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PCB007-Feb2019

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74 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2019 Stevenson: For sure. Patty Goldman: You do a lot of quick-turn stuff and prototypes. What do you see happening with the printed boards like the Nano Dimen- sion machine that's supposed to print circuit boards? Have you looked into that or do you see it as a threat? Stevenson: At this point, we're keeping our eye on that technology. The chemist in me says, "Wow, that's really cool." From what I under- stand so far, the cost factor of those is very pro- hibitive for doing it unless there is a need that outdrives the cost (i.e., security of files and/ or speed). But it's going to get better. They're going to become more mainstream, I'm sure of it. And they are going to be a competitor down the road in two, five, or 10 years. For me, it's too early to tell when that competition is going to be there for us as a mainstream product, but it's coming. Matties: That's a great question, Patty. To add on to that, I did talk to Simon Fried, president of Nano Dimension USA, about service centers where a design service bureau would start of- fering rapid prototypes and/or a fabricator like yours, Matt. Goldman: Sunstone is pretty rapid, but presum- ably these things are supposed to be extremely rapid. Matties: Four hours. Stevenson: Yes, one of the case studies I heard was a person needed a 10-layer board. He plugged it into the machine overnight, and it was done the next morning. With traditional methods with shipping and whatnot, you can't compete with that. Regarding materials and machine costs, it was probably a multi-thou- sand dollar cost for that one particular circuit board, and at that point, there isn't solder mask on top of it. So, there are some challenges as well as some additional processing that would need to happen outside of just getting a board with all the copper and dielectric layers there. Matties: Interesting trends, Matt. I will pay close attention as you re-engineer your ser- vices and strategies to see how that plays into lowering your cost and adding a strategic ad- vantage because while it's something that you have to be committed to doing, I don't think it's something that is terribly complicated to achieve. It just has to be a decision and an ac- tion that a company takes. Now, we have mul- tiple models in the marketplace showing how it's done. Stevenson: Yes, I wonder about the ability to retrofit a lot of the factories that are already built as opposed to being able to build Green- Source as they did. Matties: I had a conversation with Happy Hold- en, who I'm sure you know, but that's the ex- act question that was presented, and he said it's absolutely possible. There's plumbing seg- regation that needs to go on and repainting be- cause what we've done is we've built islands in manufacturing. You have the plating depart- ment. If you go into another room, you have the imaging department. Then, you go to an- other room for solder mask, and it's not all con- nected because they're just islands. What we have to do is segregate the waste streams and deal with them, and a lot of it is point-source control. You deal with it at the point of genera- tion rather than shooting it down a big pipe. It's absolutely achievable; it just comes down to that commitment. But again, we're talking to people and seeing motivation because it's green. But I agree with you, I think ultimately, that's a nice addition, but people still are driv- en by price in this competitive market. Pennies matter even still.

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